Latest
  • Welcome!

    We're a UK based community of cult entertainment fans - so whether you're into WWE, Marvel, DC, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek and more - join us!

    It's free to register, so why not sign up and discuss whatever you're into...

How to help someone with depression?

ShadowEdge

Active Member
Messages
197
Points
28
It's heartbreaking to watch a loved one or friend deal with lifelong depression. I know they're in pain and I desperately wish I could fix things, but I think my suggestions are probably more of an annoyance than a help. Still, I don't want to do nothing while someone I care about is struggling. How can I best help someone with depression?
 

Zack T

Active Member
Messages
661
Points
43
I've battled with Major Depression since I was a teenager. I can't speak to how everyone handles it, but for myself, no one else could really fully help me.

It had to be me who decided to do something and try to make things better. It's so easy to just let it consume you, and flood your thoughts with negativity and self doubt and self loathing.

One thing that's helped me is to stop negative self-talk. It's easy to keep yourself down when you're constantly beating yourself up and trashing yourself in your head. But I made it a point to try and stop myself from going down the rabbit hole of insulting myself...I couldn't go all the way in the opposite direction and praise myself, but just the simple act of not bashing myself helps you feel better a bit.

I've done therapy, seen a Psychiatrist, been on medication of varying types. All of that is worth exploring. Some people feel like it's a waste of time or that you shouldn't "need" medication for mental illnesses, but they're being stubborn and ignorant. The brain gets sick just like any other part of the body and sometimes that means it needs medicine. Other times, the treatment is therapy and helping us understand how to re-wire our thoughts and create new habits or concepts we hadn't previously thought of. Therapy gave me several new strategies for dealing with anxiety that I didn't have before, and when you find these things out they sound so damn simple, but you still don't often think of them on your own.

So for you, I'd say just be supportive. Don't continuously push for therapy or medication if they aren't doing it currently, because that becomes very very bothersome and will likely cause them to be much less receptive to the idea.

I don't know how they handle their depression, but I know I sometimes needed to vent but when I was venting, I was making myself sound like the worst person in the world and nothing you said could justify my actions or thoughts. It didn't matter if someone else had done the same as me, it was a double standard in my head - It was ok for you, but not ok for me. I couldn't do good enough.

I had to just wait it out, and eventually the spiraling would relax a little and I'd be more rational.

Sorry for such a long post, there's not a whole lot of helpful information I have really :( Sadly, it ultimately really does boil down to their own decisions and if they want to actually try to improve their mental health or not. That's a very difficult thing, because feeling hopeless is powerful while depressed so they may feel like there's no point cause they just won't get better. Trying is better than not trying though, after all, what have you got to lose if it doesn't work? Gonna feel bad either way, might as well give it a shot.

I hope something helps :(
 

ShadowEdge

Active Member
Messages
197
Points
28
Sorry for such a long post, there's not a whole lot of helpful information I have really.
I can't believe you took the time to type all that out to help a faceless stranger. That's unbelievably kind of you! It's my cousin who has depression. We've also been very close, even as adults. We live down the street from each other. She's always had depression, but it doesn't manifest like yours. She doesn't vent. She's introverted and quiet - even on a good day. When her depression is really bad, she'll sit in the darkness and won't eat. She doesn't watch television or anything. Just gets in bed, stays wide awake, then goes to work the next day. She literally just lays and cries. When I ask why she just says she's sad. I prod for reasons why, but she doesn't know. I can't figure out the catalyst that causes everything to go into a tailspin for her. She went to therapy when we were kids, but our family didn't know there were different kinds of therapists. Her's just asked questions. I guess like the Socratic method or something. The therapist didn't offer solutions or give her exercises to do at home or anything. She's tried medicine as well, three different kinds actually, and each one made her feel worse. She's a lovely person who would never wish harm on anyone. She claims she's never been happy, but I'm not sure about that. I guess I believe her, but she's not been this bad for years. I think I would be more naturally helpful to someone like you. I can work with venting and negative self-talk. I have no idea how to fix silence and tears. If I don't know where her mind is at, how can I help?
 

Zack T

Active Member
Messages
661
Points
43
Depression doesn't always show itself in the same ways, especially as she may have grown and changed over the years. It's certainly possible it's gotten worse as she's gotten older.

Medicine is real tricky because it really is a crapshoot. You have to basically go into taking medication knowing that there's a reasonable chance that it won't work - not because there's no medication that will help, but because our bodies all react a little bit differently to mental medication and what works for me won't work for someone else. In my experience, I went through 2 medications before my Psychiatrist switched me to a 3rd that didn't have nasty physical side effects and was also helping me remain emotionally leveled out.

Same goes for therapists - There are different methods and they all have different personalities because they're people. If a therapist doesn't seem to be resonating with you, find another one. I personally think this task is the more grueling one, because you essentially end up starting over from the beginning each time you switch therapist's and have to tell your story over again, or else they won't know things to pick out ways to help.

Honestly though, depression doesn't require a particular reason for someone to be sad. There is stress-related depression where your depression is legitimately caused by an actual event or problem. Losing a job, loss of a loved one, stuff like that can make people depressed. But that type of depression is a bit different than what I have or your cousin has, because we don't need big life stressors to become depressed. We don't even need little things to set it off. It can just wash over you and you're seemingly helpless to do anything but ride it out, because the chemicals in your brain are producing the wrong things at the wrong time. So even though you have no practical or logical reason for feeling this way, you still do...and being aware of that can make the depression worse because then you start bashing yourself for feeling bad for no reason...and it spirals down from there.

Not eating is something I do as well, I've done many a day where I just didn't eat because I flat out didn't feel up to it. Even if I got hungry, it was just a feeling of "F it why bother I don't want to spend the effort and who cares". The act of basically just sitting there or laying there and doing nothing is pretty common too. Everyone does it a bit differently, but that general behavior is common. I've done it tons of times too when depressed - Normally I spend my free time playing games on the computer. But when I'm depressed, I barely can muster the ability to open a game, much less play it. Heck plenty of times I don't even open anything, I just sort of stare at the screen and wait for time to pass until it's a reasonable time to go to bed because I just don't want to do anything, nothing has joy or meaning in it when I feel that way and that's probably something like how she feels.

She may not vent because she MIGHT have 1 person she does vent to and for most people, it's hard to open up about this inner workings. My guess is she may have tried opening up to people in the past and gotten less-than-helpful replies. I mean, replies that would make her feel like she should just stop being sad, or just snap out of it, minimizing her problems and not taking her all that seriously. If that's happened, she may just think nobody actually cares or nobody wants to hear about it, so she keeps it to herself. It could also be that she thinks she doesn't have anything to actually justify why she feels the way she does, so she doesn't talk about it because she's afraid of looking stupid or dramatic.

Have you tried opening up about your own problems to her? You said you're close, so you probably have. But sometimes problem sharing can lead to people opening up because of similar experiences or feelings, and that might help if you can find something for her to latch on to, give her a reason to talk and feel like you may understand due to a similarity. It's tricky, especially if you've never really dealt with depression personally. But maybe your experiences with anxiety, being embarrassed, tough times, stuff like that might work.
 
Messages
189
Points
18
My cousin had depression and he told me that he was bordering to becoming insane. Each person has a different way of dealing with depression and stress. What he did was to go out in the countryside and see nature all by himself. He did not want to talk to anybody. He is better now and he travels every now and then as a way to let go some of the stresses of life.
 

RegentLennox

Member
Messages
66
Points
8
You may have heard the saying, "Time heals all wounds." Although I'm no expert, I know that depression passes with time and one of the ways to help someone who is depressed is making them understand this.
 

Zack T

Active Member
Messages
661
Points
43
That's not accurate, because depression's roots come from different sources.

If depression is being caused by an event (A break up, a death, loss of a job, some other big life stress) then yes, time could heal that wound eventually.

But most people suffering from depression are chronic sufferers, who have a chemical imbalance resulting in their ongoing depression. This isn't something you can just "wait out". Like any other illness, it needs to be treated.
 

ShadowEdge

Active Member
Messages
197
Points
28
You guys have been so helpful! It turns out that I'm just a bad listener because my cousin does vent to me except I didn't take it that way because she's not very expressive. And, I've been doing the complete wrong things which is telling her how to solve her problems or just doing it for her when really she just wants someone to listen. Some chores can't be ignored like bills, garbage, and pet care so I'm still shepherding those along. I've gotten better about "compassionate listening" though. I'm just thankful to have a starting point. I really appreciate you all for that!
 
Messages
189
Points
18
If depression is being caused by an event (A break up, a death, loss of a job, some other big life stress) then yes, time could heal that wound eventually.

But most people suffering from depression are chronic sufferers, who have a chemical imbalance resulting in their ongoing depression. This isn't something you can just "wait out". Like any other illness, it needs to be treated.
I agree with everything you said. Not all depression can be healed through time because the causes are very different. There are some depressions that will lead to mental breakdown so we should take depression very seriously.
 
Top